Looking for an amazing walk or hike in Ireland? Check out our hike of the week: Djouce Mountain in County Wicklow.
Of all the wonderful ways you can experience the Emerald Isle, whether it be by car, barge, bike, or plane, none compare to simply walking the land on foot. This island is a paradise for both the thrill-seeking experienced hiker and the relaxed laidback hillwalker.
With so many treks and trails to choose from, of all lengths, difficulties, and terrains, you will be spoiled for choice when it comes to picking the perfect hike for your day out. Fear not, we’re here to help give you a little bit of inspiration. So, without further ado, here is all you need to know about our hike of the week, Djouce Mountain in tranquil County Wicklow.
Djouce Mountain – the most accessible of the Wicklow Mountains
First things first: we must introduce you to the mountain with a somewhat unusual name. Djouce or ‘Dioghais’, meaning ‘fortified height’, stands at a height of 725m (2,379 ft) above sea level. The summit of this charming peak is known to be the most accessible of the Wicklow Mountains.
Once forming part of the luxurious Powerscourt Estate, Djouce dominates the landscape of the Wicklow Mountains. However, it’s not just the view of the mountain that is stunning; the views from the top are particularly spectacular, especially on a good day. If the weather decides to treat you nicely, it is possible to see Wales from the summit.
This mountain is also one of the few Irish peaks made accessible by the OPW (Office of Public Works) by a boardwalk made from railway sleepers. The boarded trail runs from the base of Djouce to a point close to its summit, making the mountain accessible to the public, but also ensuring the underlying bogland is protected from human erosion.
The routes – from challenging hikes to leisurely strolls
Thanks to its accessibility, location, and phenomenal views on offer, Djouce is a popular destination for hillwalkers. The options to extend the walk are endless. You can start with the 7km walk from the base to the summit or start further afield at Crone Woods car park which will add an additional 6km. You can also walk a large loop from Djouce Mountain over to Fancy Mountain or extend your walk down to Powerscourt Waterfall. So many possibilities!
If you’re really looking for a challenge, Djouce also provides a scenic diversion from the 131km Wicklow Way hike (stretching from the Dublin Mountains, through Wicklow and into County Carlow.) Access to the summit is about 4km from the Wicklow Way trail junction on the southern slopes of the mountain and offers a steep but scenic viewpoint.
To get to Djouce Mountain, you can take the M50 or N11 southbound and exit on to the R755 at Kilmacanogue signposted to Glendalough/Roundwood. Take a right turning on to the R759 towards Sally Gap and you will reach the ‘JB Malone Car Park’ on the right-hand side of the road.
Expectations – what to bring, wear, and expect on your hike
Due to its barren summit, Djouce is very exposed to the elements, so appropriate footwear is highly recommended to ensure a safe and pleasant experience. If you decide to stick to the boardwalk trail, good waterproof boots and a warm coat will do nicely.
However, if you’re planning to go further afield or off the beaten track, we recommend a good set of walking poles. The walk is suitable for children and is a gradual climb with the only steep slope being the final push to the summit.
From the base, you will follow the boardwalk which extends over the wet bog below. If you’re lucky you will have a chance to see some deer, an abundance of birdlife and plenty of eye-catching Wicklow heather. On your walk, expect to find a memorial stone, dedicated to J.B. Malone, a hill-walking enthusiast responsible for the establishment of the Wicklow Way – a fitting place for a tribute.
Local attractions – things to do and see nearby and from above
There is an array of things to do and see in and around Djouce Mountain. There are plenty of charming pubs, eateries, and delicatessens nearby, perfect for a well-deserved feed or cheeky pint after your excursion. Glendalough Monastic Site is only a short drive away if you want to explore a little bit more, as is Powerscourt Waterfall, Estate and Gardens, and the Vartry Reservoir.
From above, the peak overlooks the dramatic Sally Gap and Lough Tay below. As you pan around, you can the outline of Turlough Hill Power Station, the Poolbeg chimney stacks, the Irish Sea, Howth, the Great Sugarloaf (another great hike for another day), as well as rest of the majestic Wicklow Mountains.
Why not make a day of it? – our recommendations for your jaunt with Djouce
To make the most of your jaunt with Djouce, we recommend rising early and beginning your hike in the early hours. This will ensure you will find ample parking and will also mean you will likely have more of the mountain to yourself and your thoughts, ahead of the busy afternoon rush.
From the JB Malone Car Park, follow the railway sleepers up through Ballinastoe Woods and up to the scenic viewing point at the JB Malone memorial. Here you will be caught off guard with breath-taking views of glistening Lough Tay and the 6,000-acre Luggala Estate, once owned by the Guinness family. From here, follow the trail to White Hill, before taking a ninety-degree turn north and following the boardwalk up towards Djouce.
You will have to hop over a small stile, and will eventually reach another junction, this time the boardwalk turns eastwards to the Wicklow Way and on to Powerscourt Waterfall and Enniskerry. Instead, leave the boardwalk and climb up the gravel pathway to the summit. Once you reach the top, take a deep breath and just enjoy the views of the mountains, loughs, fields, and sea below.
This route is classed as ‘moderate’ in difficulty. From the carpark and back again is 7km in length and can be completed in about 3 hours. After your hike, we recommend taking a trip to Enniskerry where you can stop for a cuppa and a bite to eat in Poppies Café and explore the wonderful Powerscourt Estate, House and Gardens.
Location: Djouce, Powerscourt Paddock, Co. Wicklow